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Pakistan Kissan Ittehad threaten protest over cotton import

Pakistan Kissan Ittehad President Khalid Khokhar has threatened to kick off a series of protests if the concerned authorities fail to protect the interests of local farmers.

Kissan Ittehad President Khokhar was of the view that the local agriculture and cotton crop needs to be protected by taking decisions in harmony with the law.

Importing cotton through land route is prohibited according to Plant Quarantine rules 1967 and should not be permitted through Wagha or Torkham boarders.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) of intending to import cotton from Torkham and Wagha borders at lower prices, which would result in a drop in cotton prices in the country and hurt the local cotton growers.

200-300 trucks carrying 50,000 metric tons of cotton are waiting at Torkham boarder for green signal from the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) and Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

Raw cotton could only be imported by receiving preceding permission of Department of Plant Protection (DPP) and taking phytosanitary measures complying with sub rule 3 of rule 28 of Plant Protection Quarantine Act 1967, which states that cotton can only be imported with preceding special permission of DPP through sea routes and has to be fumigated at the port of entry.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) is pressurizing the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) to set aside the quarantine act and issue release order to customs authorities.

Import of raw cotton had great risks for the local crop as it could lead to introducing new pests and diseases in the country, causing billion of rupees of losses to the crop.

The cost of production of cotton for local farmers was very high as almost all countries were paying huge subsidies to cotton growers. Pakistani cotton grower cannot compete with the subsidized imported cotton from these countries.

There was a greater need to produce exportable excess so that growers could get international price for their produce and keep cultivating more and more cotton. As, cotton production in Pakistan is connected to the economic development of the country.

Author: Ammara Khan

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